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Maryland women’s lacrosse will face High Point in first round of NCAA Tournament

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Friday’s opening round matchup will be up against the Panthers (7-5)

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland women’s lacrosse has been placed in the Durham Region of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, where it will line up for a first-round matchup against the High Point Panthers.

The start time is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 14 and will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and streamed on ESPN Plus.

High Point won the Big South title game in dominant fashion, defeating Radford by 13 goals to clinch a fourth straight conference championship.

Head coach Lyndsey Boswell has built the Panthers program from the ground up after taking over in 2009. This year saw High Point go through a tough five-game losing streak prior to conference play, but were able to piece it all together down the stretch to finish with a 10-7 record (6-0 Big South).

The Terps had an up and down season but finished strong in the Big Ten Tournament. After wrapping up the regular season with a 7-5 record, Maryland played its best lacrosse of the season in the three games played. And while the Terrapins came up short versus perennial favorite Northwestern in the championship game, they may be heating up at the right time.

Maryland hosted four All-Big Ten members (three first team, one second team). Defender Lizzie Colson (unanimous), midfielder Grace Griffin and attacker Hannah Leubecker headlined the list of standout Terrapins, while midfielder Shaylan Ahearn notched a second-team nod.

Although it wasn’t a typical year on a national scale for head coach Cathy Reese’s squad, she was still able to navigate a conference-only schedule with a ton of growing pains and earn her 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.

The offense has been the key factor throughout the tumultuous season, as Maryland has disappeared and reappeared in that category frequently. Above and below a .400 shooting percentage has been the hallmark of Maryland’s success in 2021, but three of the team’s last four games have seen the Terps eclipse that mark — including the Big Ten championship game versus Northwestern where the team shot .500.

What has kept Maryland afloat in its conference was a stellar defensive unit. Colson was the star, earning her first Big Ten Defender of the Year award largely thanks to her ability across the playing field. Her 42 caused turnovers led the nation, while she also led the Big Ten in ground balls per game (3.4).

Her supporting cast rounded out a defense that allowed 12.83 goals per game. Defenders Maddie Sanchez, Tori Barretta and Kacy Hogarth were instrumental in maintaining the defensive identity for the Terps, while sophomore goalkeeper Emily Sterling held down the fort in her first season as the full-time starter.

Maryland finds itself in a loaded portion of the bracket. The upper half of the bracket, the Evanston region, features a Northwestern team that throttled Maryland twice in the regular season and pulled away down the stretch in the third meeting in the Big Ten championship game.

If victorious against High Point, the Terps will round out the lower portion of its bracket region against either No. 7 seed Duke (9-7) or Mount St. Mary’s (14-2).